Tenkaippin's Assari Ramen

On the Diamond Head end of Kalakaua avenue in Waikiki is Kapahulu avenue, where heading mauka (towards the mountain) you’ll find a wide variety of popular ethnic eateries. Just to name a few of many, get your Hawaiian fix on at Ono’s, your Portuguese fix on at Leonard’s, your Middle Eastern fix on at Pyramids, or your Japanese fix on at Tenkaippin Ramen, where I visited yesterday. Or at least the latter is supposed to be Japanese. Read on.

Everyone, including the restaurant themselves, raves about their Kotteri Ramen, which is explained as “Our #1 best seller. Healthy chicken soup base, so rich and unique, it’s habit-forming.”

Before we immerse ourselves any deeper in broth, as always, first let’s take a look around the joint…

Typical ramen-ya style centrally-serviced wrap-around countertop, although as you see here, the two busy waitresses spent most of the time on the perimeter.

Owner/President Scott Suzui, along with his wife and son, have a popular television show on OC-16 called ‘Ultimate Japan’ (similar to Soko Ga Shiritai), which not surprisingly, episodes are played on a loop on a big screen TV in the restaurant…

The Kotteri Ramen is advertised all over the place here, practically making you feel guilty if you don’t order that!…

The condiment station…

Noteworthy in here was that tan-colored jar on the left with the brown domed cover, which inside had minced garlic and chili pepper, which the server says is also commonly to add in their ramen. I’m not into spicy-garlic ramen, but I did add a generous amount to my Gyoza dipping sauce, and it was FANTASTIC!

Now let’s check out the menu…

Sorry folks, like Ramen Nakamura, looks like it’s cash only here too.  I must note though, there’s no curry here, thank goodness! Yet another dedicated and faithful Ramen shop! Yet for some reason I’m kinda’ curious about that choice #11, the Garlic Steak!

OK, now let’s talk broth. My lovely servers (notice plural) took plenty of time explaining and sharing their opinions of each one to me. The server who initially took my order came right off the bat and said she didn’t care for the Kotteri broth, finding it too thick and rich for her tastes, preferring the Assari shoyu broth. Which is exactly what I was hoping to hear, as I didn’t want to be coaxed by biased opinion “Kotteri this, Kotteri that, blah, blah blah”. lol

On the other hand, the other server said she really liked the Kotteri broth, yet noted it did take a little adjusting at first. She noted Tenkaippin’s Paitan broth is similar to the Kotteri broth in flavor, but not nearly as thick. She also noted that, while not on the menu, you can order what’s called ‘Kosseri’ broth, which is a 50/50 combination of Assari broth and Kotteri broth. I like the sound of that!

Not willing to take chances on this first visit, I again stuck by my guns and went with the Assari broth, which is explained as “Healthy chicken base soup with soy sauce flavor.”

While I made up my mind on the Assari, because of the hype, curiosity of the Kotteri broth remained, and thankfully the servers were nice enough to grant my request and bring me a “sampler portion” in a soup spoon (no charge of course) of their Kotteri broth, so I could at least have a sneak preview of what it’s all about…

What’s the “sneak preview” Kotteri broth verdict? Take a whole roasted (a.k.a. “huli huli”) chicken, bones and all, from Costco or your favorite supermarket, stick that in a juicer or food processor with water until it reaches a creamy viscosity kinda’ like a thin gravy, and that’s basically what this tastes like. It’s very “chicken-ee” with noticeable undertones of chicken bones. That thin gravy-like viscosity is certainly the part that takes some acclimating to. At first I sort of cringed, but I quickly overcame it and actually kinda’ liked it! Although I have yet to try it with the ramen noodles, where the starch in the noodles will certainly play a major factor in how this thick Kotteri broth pairs with it.

Before I was brought that sampler spoon, one of my servers showed me a bowl of a finished bowl of Kotteri Ramen, so I could get an idea how thick it is…

Notice how it’s thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and adhere to the angled wall of the ramen bowl. This diner was obviously very generous in adding plenty of garlic and chili pepper to their Kotteri bowl.

OK, enough with the Kotteri Ramen. Let’s get to my order, which was their Assari Ramen and Gyoza set…

Tenkaippin – B set (Ramen and 3-piece Gyoza) – $9.95


Doing the math, that comes out to an additional $1.75 for the 3-piece Gyoza. Not bad. Actually though, in hindsight, I wish I had ordered C set (Ramen and 3 Fried Chicken), as at this point I’m getting a little “Gyoza’d out”. Not yet “ramen’d out” though!

Let’s take a closer look…

Tenkaippin Ramen – Assari Ramen: Healthy chicken base soup with soy sauce flavor.

The Gyoza…

Tenkaippin Ramen – 3-piece Gyoza (house-made)

Back to the Assari Ramen, after a moment of observing and connecting with its spirit, I go in for a taste of the broth…

Globules of chicken fat visibly slick the Assari shoyu broth surface, which is always a good sign for the flavor police. Sipping it, what’s the verdict? Remember what I said about the Kotteri broth tasting like a processed whole roasted chicken? Well imagine if you took just the drippings from that whole roasted chicken, with the addition of shoyu and that’s pretty much what this tastes like. That, while also reminding me of roasted turkey for some reason, albeit in liquid form. You may be asking why I don’t say it tastes simply like chicken or turkey stock, which I’ll say it’s much more “roasted” in flavor than that.

What’s most interesting about this broth, along with my “sneak preview” impression of the Kotteri broth, is that they both taste very UN-JAPANESE! Which is a rather blasphemous conclusion to come to considering this is a chain from Japan, with most of the ingredients imported from there. Yet, really, if I hadn’t known that, I’d have thought this ramen broth recipe was concocted in — ehem, cough, cough — California, or perhaps even Georgia or Tennessee.

Again, a liquified whole roasted chicken (and/or turkey) is the best way I can describe the broth’s flavor profile.

I will say, it’s delicious! Indeed different than any other shoyu ramen broth I’ve ever had, but very delicious!

Let’s try the noodles…

As expected, like just about every other ramen-ya on Oahu, the noodles here are sourced from Sun Noodle Factory, again to their own specifications. I actually found the noodles here slightly overcooked. Just slightly though. Not enough to complain about, but at least to note.I must also note that the pronounced poultry flavor from the broth adhered quite a bit to the noodles; more so than I normally find ramen broths do. So I imagine the flavor and texture of the noodles will be very “interesting” when being slurped up in the much thicker Kotteri broth.

Now let’s try the Charsu (notice the spelling)…

Excellent Charsu. Permeated throughout with flavor from the braising liquid, while being super tender and having a good balance of meat and fat. My only problem with it was that it was so tender, yet so sliced so thin, I could barely pick it up without disintegrating in my chopsticks…

The single, thin slice of Charsu was also a bit inadequate to accommodate the entire bowl of ramen. Therefore,  if you’re a charsu fan (like I am), since Tenkaippin’s Charsu is so good, I’d recommend getting the Charsu Assari Ramen.

Thankfully my other favorite topping was NOT inadequate, as there were generous helpings of Menma included in the bowl…

The menma was probably the saving grace that kept this ramen “Japanese”, and not entirely something that came out of the west. I wonder if they should put a piece of Nori in their ramen to further “Japanify” it. (is that valid word? lol)

Summing up Tenkaippin’s Assari Ramen, I give it a deliciously different, poultry-screamin’ 3 SPAM Musubi.

Now on to the Gyoza…

The Gyoza is house-made with the typical filling of pork, plus beef, cabbage, green onion, ginger and garlic. They arrived in front of me simultaneously with my Assari Ramen piping hot fresh outta’ the frying pan.

They were pan-seared to a tasty golden-brown finish on the bottom, with perfectly al dente wrapper all around. What really made it though was the minced garlic and chili pepper condiment added to the dipping sauce. So, so ono!

That said, easy 4 SPAM Musubi for Tenkaippin’s Gyoza, especially factoring in the value as a set.

Everything was so delicious, I once again polished it!…

Ah, oishikata!  Gouchisou sama deshita!

Service was very friendly (I had two servers!) and quick, with order arriving within 10 minutes of being placed. Here’s one of my servers, Michelle (who hails from China), who even followed me out as I left to further explain Tenkaippin’s menu to me!…

I’m telling you, it’s gotta’ be my charm and handsome, good looks that gets me such great service at these ramen shops. Just kidding! lol  No, but seriously, she was very enthusiastic about Tenkaippin’s menu and, picking up that I was passionate about ramen, she went above the call of duty to explain all she knew about it to me. Now that’s what you call customer service! For that alone, I’ll definitely be back! Service = 5 stars!

Tenkaippin Ramen
617 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, Hawaii  96815

Tel. (808) 732-1211

The Tasty Island Rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
Tenkaippin Hawaii – ‘Ono Kine Grindz
Tenkaippin Ramen, a closer look – AkuEats.com
Tenkaippin, a healthy choice –  Star Bulletin
FUUD: Tenkaippin in Kapahulu – Honolulu Advertiser
Ramen Hunt Part 2: Tenkaippin – Hawaii Metblogs

P.S. It’s been a beautiful Memorial Day weekend here in Hawaii Nei. This past Saturday I stopped by “China Walls” in Portlock on the east side of Oahu. Here’s a segmented panoramic view at Chinawalls, overlooking Maunalua Bay…

IchiBen's Ichimen Shoyu Ramen

“Ramen’d out” yet? Good. Me neither! Which has our chopsticks continuing its “Ramenathon” pace, now running into the Pearl City area of Oahu for a sample of the Shoyu Ramen at IchiBen. This, in honoring a suggestion by reader ‘geishagirl’, who said, “Being a rameniac myself, I suggest you try Ichiben ramen in Waimalu. They also serve paitan, which I find is a lighter version than usual. Their gyoza is excellent, along with the fast and friendly service. To be a true rameniac, lots of slurping and sweat must be involved when consuming.”.

That last sentence was exceptionally enticing. Sounds like we’ve got a plan!

So here we are at Ichiben, which is located in Times Square Shopping Center in Waimalu, with nextdoor neighbors including IHOP and, of course, Times Supermarket.

As seems the trend in this genre of hybrid Japanese ramen restaurants, Ichben not only offers that, but curry and barbecue too, as indicated by these photos displayed prominently on their front window…

Let’s take a look inside…

The full-colored wall-to-wall mural sure looks pretty. Great to use as a masthead for their website, although they don’t have one yet, as far as I could find.

Like Goma Tei, Kiwami Ramen and,ehem Ramen Nakamura, Ichiben has a similar clean and modern asian-inspired  decor theme.

The usual shoyu, rice vinegar and Togarashi (Japanese chili pepper flakes) condiment station at each table…

Now let’s check out their menu (click image to view full res’)…

Hmmm. Interesting. “Steamy Ramen”? Sounds “saucy”. lol They provide a thorough explanation of their broth-making process, which if holds true, we should be in for one mighty fine bowl of authentic Japanese ramen here. We shall so find out.

As you folks know, I’m a stickler for Shoyu broth, and brushed off any possibilities on this first-time visit I’d “think outside the box” and try their Paitan broth, nor their Miso broth. No way. Time was tight, and I just didn’t have room for “error” in this situation.

Glad I stuck by guns, as you’ll soon find out. Without further ado, presenting Ichiben’s Ichimen Shoyu Ramen and Gyoza set…

Ichiben – Ichimen Shoyu Ramen and side of Gyoza

Ah, oishiisou! (look’s delicious!)

Let’s go in for a closer looks…

Ichiben – Ichimen Shoyu Ramen: House special combo with shrimp, char siu, egg, Kamaboko, Choy Sum, bean sprouts, menma and green onions. $7.95

Wow, that’s quite an assortment of toppings. Kinda’ reminds me of Zippy’s ‘Zipmin’, which in my opinion is one the best bowls of Saimin you can get on Oahu.

Let’s check out da’ Gyoza…

Ichiben – 4-piece Gyoza “add on”. $1.95

Wow, now THAT’S  a great deal! $1.95 for four pieces of Gyoza? Sweet! That’s less than half the price for Gyoza compared to Ramen Nakamura.

Back to the Ichimen Shoyu Ramen, after spending a moment observing and absorbing its “tamashii”, I go in for taste of the broth. Hai, itadakimasu…

You know what? Impressive. Very impressive. Oishii! Easy 4 SPAM Musubi in and of its own right. While still not “the bowl” I’m looking for, this Ichiben’s Shoyu broth hits several key flavor factors that resemble it. It’s deep and complex with earthy, meaty undertones, while the globules of fat floating on the surface provide that much desired silky texture as you slurp of the noodles.

Speaking of which, let’s go in for that…

As with most other ramen-ya on Oahu, as confirmed by my waitress, Ichiben sources their noodles from my ichiban favorite, Sun Noodle Factory. Yet also like other ramen-ya staff have insisted, according to my server, Sun Noodle makes it according to Ichiben’s own special recipe. Sure. OK. lol

They were cooked perfectly al dente in the Japanese style of being slightly on the firm side, just how I like it, while flavor-wise, tasted pretty much like Sun Noodle’s nama ramen sold in the store. But I’ll believe theirs is a “special recipe”. lol  Slurping it up, I’ll go 4 SPAM Musubi on the perfectly-cooked noodles.

Now let’s try the char siu…

Eh. Not bad. Not great. There wasn’t enough shoyu/mirin/sake/ginger flavor on the outer area of the cut, making it overall kinda’ plain. Speaking of cut,  they’re quite thin…

I’ll go 1 SPAM  Musubi on their char siu (chashu). Glad it’s there, but next.

Next would be my favorite ramen topping (next to a good chashu), menma!…

Menma, that tan-colored straw-like pieces shown in the photo above, are Japanese lactate-fermented bamboo shoots, often marinaded in a base solution of shoyu, mirin and katsuoboshi. It’s a defining flavor component that gives Japanese ramen that crucial earthy undertone I had pointed out Ichiben’s broth so virtuously possesses.

I could tell this was the packaged stuff, yet nothing wrong with that. It was a mighty fine menma, and worthy of 4 SPAM Musubi based, the taste, texture and especially the quantity. Look how much they gave! That’s about as much as I liberally put on in my ramen at home!

There’s actually some ramen shops that offer a menma ramen, where, obviously, menma is “the man”. Next time I visit a ramen-ya that has it, I’ll order it. LOVE the stuff!

Let’s try the shrimp…

Eh. It’s OK, but personally I don’t think the shrimp flavor matches the earthy, meaty undertone of shoyu ramen broth. Saimin? Yes. Absolutely. Shoyu Ramen? Neh-eh. In and of itself, the tiny shrimp tails were sweet, tasty and tender, but it needs to go over to pool #5. lol For that I give it 1 SPAM Musubi.

Now let’s try the Choy Sum…

I’m cool with Choy Sum in my ramen. While I find it rather unusual, greens are always good. My only wish is that it would have taken on more flavor from the broth. It won’t though, as Choy Sum has too much character of its own to do that, and kinda’ gives the impression there’s some Chinese goings on here in the Japanese sea of love. Nothing wrong with that I suppose. With that, I give the Choy Sum in this Shoyu Ramen 3 SPAM Musubi.

Thankfully, unlike Taiyo Ramen’s “sproutmen” that had like a 50/50 ratio of bean sprouts to ramen noodles, Ichiben is much more conservative with it, just sprinkling in enough to add texture and color contrast to the overall presentation…

We’ll add another 4 SPAM Musubi for not serving me “sproutmen”. lol

As for the egg and Kamaboko, very good. 3 SPAM Musubi, although I still have a problem with Kamaboko in ramen, and think its’ better suited in Saimin. But whatevahz.

That’s that for the fantastic Ichimen Shoyu Ramen. Summing it up, I give it 4 SPAM Musubi, as the broth, noodles and menma all came together splendidly. The char siu needs work and the shrimp needs another gig, but minors. I walked out very, very satisfied with it.

Now let’s try the Gyoza…

Filled with the standard Gyoza filling. Pan seared and steamed with a golden-brown crusty bottom and perfectly al dente wrapper all around. Very good. 3 SPAM Musubi. Yet the value factor at just $1.95 for four pieces is so exceptional, I’m giving them another Musubi for the principle of that. 4 SPAM Musubi!

And if Gyoza ain’t yo’ thang, for the same $1.95 in chump change, you can also choose either Beef Curry Rice or Chicken Fried Rice. Nice!

Prices right across the menu are certainly family-friendly and right on point. If I lived or worked in the Waimalu area, I’d certainly come here often, and I’m anxious to return to try more stuff.

I enjoyed my Ichimen Shoyu Ramen so much, I polished it…

Ah, oishikata! Gouchisou sama deshita! (It was delicious! What a feast!)

Service was top-notch, being fast and friendly, with my ice water kept topped and my order arriving within 10 minutes of being placed.

Domo arigato gozaimasu, geishagirl for recommending Ichiben. Great find!

IchiBen Restaurant
98-1258 Ka’ahumanu St. (Times Square Shopping Center, nextdoor to the left of IHOP and Times Supermarket)
Pearl City, Hawaii  96782

Tel. 488-4200

Ichiben takeout menu (2-page PDF document)

The Tasty Island rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
Manolo Morales visits Ichiben – KHON2 News
Ichiben – Yelp user reviews

P.S. I finally went to see Iron Man 2. Awesome. By far my favorite character in the movie (next to Tony Stark/Iron Man) was Black Widow played by Scarlett Johannson. She kicked major okole! Can’t wait for Thor!

Here’s the key scene from Iron Man 1 (high res’ version)…

Ramen Nakamura's Oxtail Ramen & Shoyu Ramen 2010

The “ramenathon” continues, this time at Ramen Nakamura to try their “famous” Oxtail Ramen.

Ramen Nakamura’s prime Waikiki location on the main drag at the corner of Kalakaua and Beachwalk had recently closed for renovations for several months earlier this year, reopening on May 2nd with a fresh and new, contemporary asian-inspired decor. This, in what appears to be a proactive effort to stay competitive with other newer ramen shops around town such as Kiwami Ramen and Goma Tei, who both sport a modern, chic look.

That said, here’s how Ramen Nakamura looked before their makeover…

See, it’s so drab and old looking, that one of the patrons had fallen asleep at the counter. lol

Well not anymore, as here’s how it looks “after”…

Aaaahhhh….ooooooohhhh…aaaaahhhhh. Sugoi!

The lighting, solid surface countertops, along with the wood and black tones of the furniture, cabinets and trim work all come together, creating an inviting, and rather elegant ambiance. These centrally-serviced, communal wrap-around counter designs are not only efficient for the server, but also an inviting social experience for guests, as I often end up having fun conversations with neighboring patrons about ramen, as I have with these two Nihongin fellahz on this visit..

As for the menu, it hasn’t changed much, except for a few items going up just a little in price, but nothing drastic. Of course being in Waikiki, you’re going to pay a slightly higher price across the board anyways to help cover the exorbitant rents. Let’s check the menu out…

There on that last page you see they list their ‘Specialty Oxtail Soup’ in various combination sets. With that, I chose the Oxtail combo set with small fried rice and 3-piece Gyoza…

Ramen Nakamura – Oxtail Combo (small fried rice and 3-piece gyoza). $17.20

Wow, that’s quite a spread. Quite a price tag as well. Then again, we are talking oxtails here, which even for the soup version is often priced on the high side.

Let’s have a closer look…

There’s an option to order the Oxtail Ramen with Shoyu broth, but I wanted to taste it how they normally serve it, so I ordered it with the default Shio (salt) broth, which appears a bit lighter in color.

To my  delight, they brought the requisite bowl of finely grated ginger and shoyu to accompany the oxtails in my ramen…

Here’s the Gyoza…

And the Fried Rice…

OK, let’s observe the ramen for a moment to show appreciation and absorb its spirit. Now let’s try the broth and noodles…

As expected, the Shio broth was fairly tame in comparison to the more bold and deep shoyu style. They add some chili oil in it which indeed spices it up some, being especially noticeable where it clings to the oxtails. Really though, what I psychologically had programmed in my mind was that it would taste like traditional local style Oxtail Soup that just so happens to have noodles in it. I was hoping it would have that same beefy, star anise-laced flavor profile, but there was none of that.It turns it being exactly as advertised: Oxtail Ramen, with not many left curves thrown at you, save for the oxtails themselves.

Let’s try get to the main attraction, the Oxtails…

I must say, the fairly generous portion of meaty oxtails (there were two big ones and two small ones in the bowl) were cooked just as tender and succulent as the best Oxtail Soups I’ve had, which of course would be The Alley Restaurant, Asahi Grill (Kapiolani Coffee Shop) and Pho Bistro 2.

The super-tender meat and melting cartilage all pulled very easily off the intricate tail bone center.

While the Shio broth didn’t factor in that much in the Oxtails’ flavor, the oxtail meat themselves had plenty to offer on their own terms, especially when getting a dip in the requisite grated ginger and shoyu sauce. I swear, if sodium weren’t an issue, I’d dip just about EVERYTHING I eat in grated ginger and shoyu!

Which now that I think about it, is there such a thing as a Ginger-Shoyu Ramen? I’ve never seen or noticed it. Have you? Perhaps some time soon I’ll get back in the kitchen laboratory and do some experimenting! I must say, “Ginger-Shoyu Ramen” sure sounds promising!

Other toppings in in the bowl include bok choy, spinach, menma, and fried garlic; the latter of which I find a bit bitter, naturally being that it’s fried. I also don’t think garlic matches in ramen. Thankfully Ramen Nakumura includes Menma, which I really think ramen just isn’t complete without it. The bok choy and spinach worked for me, although the bok choy in particular did sort of “Chinafy” it.

Summing up Ramen Nakamura’s Oxtail Ramen, it was much better than I expected actually, as I was initially skeptical of Oxtails — or any beef for that matter — working in Japanese style Ramen. Yet it somehow pulled through. Although I’d also have to say it’s like having two separate dishes; essentially a pretty good bowl of Shio Ramen that just so happens to  have really excellent, succulent, tender, and beefy Oxtails in it. They both didn’t unify to create one great Oxtail Ramen, but each doing their supporting rolls, made for altogether a very good oxtail-meets-ramen Ramen.

The score? 3 SPAM Musubi. As you’ll soon read, if I had opted for the Shoyu broth in my Oxtail Ramen, this could have easily been a 4 or possibly a 5!

Moving along, let’s try their Fried Rice…

Eh, it’s OK. The tart contrast of the Beni Shoga (Umeboshi-pickled ginger) definitely made it taste much better than if it had been without it.I’ll give a 2.

Now the Gyoza…

Very good. No complaints. Arrived piping hot, cooked perfectly al dente with a good sear on the bottom, and  a generous amount of the typical Gyoza filling of ground pork, cabbage and green onion in it. 3 SPAM Musubi.

Still in “ramenathon” mode, I returned back to Ramen Nakamura just a few evenings later to refresh my palate on their Shoyu Ramen…

Ramen Nakamura – Shoyu Ramen. $8.70

I’m not sure if they have a new chef or what, but this time around the Shoyu Ramen was excellent! Much better than the last time I blogged this place, when I thought it was only ‘average’.

This time around the Shoyu broth had that complexity and depth I so desire.

The Sun Noodle Factory-sourced noodles were generous in portion and cooked pefectly al dente in the firmer Japanese style that I also prefer.

And of course that all-important component that not only adds a texture contrast, but flavor as well, the Menma (marinaded bamboo shoots)…

As for the Chashu, it was a bit too lean for me, yet I  must say, it still had a good amount of flavor thanks to the shoyu, mirin and sake braising liquid I’m assuming they use.

Here you see how thin they’re sliced…

I like to wrap my chashu in noodles like this…

If that’s rude according to Japanese table etiquette, gomenasai.. but I’m Gaijin, so daijobu desu nei? Nei? lol

Summing it up, this bowl of Shoyu Ramen was so delicious, I polished the bowl…

Ah, shokuji oishikatsu ta desu! With that, Ramen Nakamura’s Shoyu Ramen class of 2010 gets awarded 4 SPAM Musubi!

Going back to my Oxtail Ramen visit, those two Nihongin fellahz ordered these bowls of ramen…

Ramen Nakamura – Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen

Ramen Nakamura – Miso Vegetable Ramen

Ramen Nakamura
2141 Kalakaua Avenue Suite 1
Honolulu, Hawaiii  96815
Tel. 922-7960

The Tasty Island rating (For Oxtail Ramen and Shoyu Ramen 2010):

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related Links:
Waikiki Eats: Ramen Nakamura – The Tasty Island
Ramen Nakamura – Ono Kine Grindz
Ramen Nakamura – Yelp user reviews

Sumo Ramen's Char Siu Ramen

Several weeks ago I was in Kaneohe on a business errand, where I spotted Sumo Ramen in Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center (my childhood stomping grounds!), so I decided to give them a try.

As usual, I chose the Shoyu Ramen, opting for the Char Siu version (notice ‘Char’ and ‘Siu’ are phonetically separated), which puts more slices of pork in the Shoyu Ramen bowl.

Before we get to the grindz, first let’s check the joint out…

Now the menu…

Notice they have a number of locations, which actually made me more skeptical than confident walking in, as authenticity and consistency often suffer. Yet I discovered the Kaneohe location is the original, so that was encouraging.

So as mentioned earlier, I chose the Char Siu Ramen, which uses the same broth as their Shoyu Ramen, getting it as a combo set that includes Gyoza and Fried Rice…

I must say, at $8.50 for this combo set, that’s a great value for all this food.

Let’s go in for a closer look…

OK, let’s do this. First I observe it. Observe. Breath in its essence. Its life. Its spirit. Its “tamashii”. Now to taste the broth….

Eh, like the Shoyu-based broth from Taiyo Ramen, Sumo Ramen’s take on it is just OK, but nothing really to write home or here about. Actually, Taiyo’s was better, with a bit more depth and character. This one tasted bland in comparison. Tamashii ga nai.

Now let’s try the noodles…

A little overcooked and softer than the more firm Japanese style I prefer. Like Taiyo, Sumo also sources their noodles from Sun Noodle Factory.

Now let’s try the Char Siu…

Eh. Just “eh”. Like the broth, the Char Siu’s  kinda’ bland as well. It’s also a little too lean-tasting, lacking some of the fattiness that makes Japanese ramen taste oh-so-good. Most notably it tasted like it barely had any seasoning on the outside of the slice, as if they had simmered it in plain ‘ole water, and not shoyu, mirin, sake and ginger.

Summing it up, I give Sumo Ramen’s Char Siu Ramen 1 SPAM Musubi (average).

Now let’s try the Gyoza…

Houston, we have a problem. Please return the shuttle to base, as our Gyoza is falling apart…

What the hell? Is there an egg shortage or something? Look at it! I tried picking each up one up with my chopsticks, and the Gyoza’s wonton wrapper separated at the seems, having me make a considerable effort with my chopsticks to hold it together while trying to eat it, lest all the filling fall back on the plate. Taste-wise it was pretty good. But they need to run over to Safeway nextdoor and buy more eggs!

For the disintegrating Gyoza, it’s “DQ’d” of a SPAM Musubi rating. A simple fix of binding the wrapper seam properly and I’d give at least a 2.

Finally, let’s sample the Fried Rice…

Well this is a first. I actually enjoyed the Fried Rice more than the Ramen and Gyoza! Mostly thanks to the inclusion of the Fukujinzuke it was served with, which added a fantastic flavor contrast to the excellent fried rice. For this dish I give them 4 SPAM Musubi. Yay!

Speaking of Fukujinzuke, a popular condiment served with curry in Japan, the curry here seemed more popular by neighboring patrons during my visit than their ramen, as more orders of that were arriving on the tables than bowls of ramen. I was almost envious, thinking I ordered the wrong thing here. The curry smelled and looked really oishiii! I hear it’s a little on the sweet side in typical Japanese fashion, and is similar in flavor to the curry from Coco Ichiban Curry House.

As for the name ‘Sumo Ramen’, I was surprised they didn’t have a “Sumo-sized” option for those with a “sumo-sized” appetite. Or, what would be funny is if they serve the same portion of ramen like I got in a MASSIVE ramen bowl that wows the customers. Da’ kine where you gotta’ grip the bowl tightly with both hands when picking it up. That’d be hilarious!

Anyhow, if or when I return to Sumo Ramen, I’m trying the curry. That looked like the way to go here.

Sumo Ramen
Kaneohe Bay Shopping Center
46-047 Kamehameha Hwy.
Kaneohe, Hawaii  96744

Tel. (808) 234-6868

The Tasty Island rating:

(1) Average.

Related links:
Sumo Ramen & Curry – Yelp user reviews
Sumo Ramen – Yelp user reviews (redundant)

Taiyo Ramen's Charsiu Ramen

Continuing my ramen binge, in search of the “ultimate bowl”, today we shall see if Taiyo Ramen is up to the task. Where here I stuck by my guns and ordered the Shoyu Ramen, where as always, I kick it up by choosing the Charsiu version, which is essentially Shoyu Ramen with more slices of Charsiu in it.

To note, the last time I’ve been to Taiyo Ramen was AGES ago when they were located near the corner of Kapiolani boulevard and Koreamoku street in a typical strip mall (no pun intended), where Nordstrom now calls home. Taiyo Ramen is now located tucked away in the corner of Piikoi and Kona street, nextdoor to Blockbuster and Payless Shoes. In total, according to the owner, Taiyo Ramen has been in business for 17 years, which is very impressive.

As always, first let’s case the joint…

And of course, the menu…

So, as said earlier, unlike my “think outside the box” mentality in ordering the highly touted Kakuni Paitan Ramen at Yotteko-Ya, here at Taiyo I chose the Charsiu Shoyu Ramen, my defining  authentic Japanese Ramen “gauge plate”. Here it is, where I also got the usual ramen accompaniment, Gyoza as side dish…

Taiyo Ramen – Charsiu Ramen & Gyoza

This is now the time to reflect Chef Maezumi’s philosopy, “A bowl of Ramen is a self-contained universe. With life from the sea, the mountains and the earth. All existing in perfect harmony. Harmony is essential. What holds it all together is the broth. The broth gives life to the ramen. Understand? So with that in mind, observe the ramen. Observe the ramen.”

Hai. Let’s first observe the ramen and embrace its elements. Its spirit. Its “tamashii”…

Boat-loads of Charsiu (Chashu), that’s for sure. My only complaint is the Kamaboko (the fish cake pink and white thing), which belongs in Saimin, not Japanese Ramen. At least, that’s my opinion.

OK, let’s taste the broth…

Eh. It’s OK. It actually reminds me of the Paitan broth from Yotteko-Ya, albeit not as “milky” tasting.

Now let’s try the Charsiu (Chashu)…

Very good. This does the ramen justice. It has a good balance of fat and meat, while being tender, with just the right amount of “bite” to it. It’s also seasoned well, screaming with “I’m Chashu!” flavor, and not bland at all like the Chashu I’ve had at another ramen shop I’ll review in a post coming soon.

Now the bean sprouts I had a slight problem with, as it seemed there were as much of that as there were ramen noodles…

Finally with a considerable effort fishing through the broth, I was able to unearth the noodles…

Sure enough, like many other ramen shops in town, Taiyo’s owner told me she sources their noodles from Sun. And with that, it was cooked perfectly al dentem with good firm to the bite.

Summing it up, the broth was just OK, while the Charsiu was excellent. For that, I give Taiyo Ramen’s Charsiu Ramen 2 SPAM Musubi.

Now let’s try the Gyoza…

These Gyoza are a bit larger than the norm, with pronounced folds on the side…

The taste and texture is excellent…

It’s filled with the usual ground pork, cabbage and green onion. The real standout is the thick wonton wrapper, which had a nice golden-brown seared bottom and perfectly al dente entireness, while also having a hint of seasoning to it.

Taiyo Ramen has a ready-to-pour Gyoza dipping sauce at every table in that bottle with the red lid, between the chopsticks and the shoyu…

With that, I find a great way to kick up Chashu even further is by dipping it in the Ponzu style Gyoza sauce…

While most Japanese ramen shops here in Honolulu are owned by Nihongin transplants, Taiyo Ramen is Korean-owned, as is very evident by the complimentary Kim Chee included with every order…

And I must say, this Kim Chee was mighty fine!

Have I found my “heavenly bowl” here with Taiyo Ramen’s Charsiu Ramen? Nope. But it’s not bad. The Gyoza’s a winner,.

Taiyo Ramen
451 Piikoi st.
Suite #105
Honolulu, Hawaii  96814

Tel. (808) 589-2123

Business hours:
Monday – Thursday 10am to 1am
Friday & Saturday 10am to 3am
Sunday 10am to ppm

The Tasty Island rating:

(2) Good. I’m glad I tried it.

Related links:
Taiyo Noodles – Yelp user reviews

Yotteko-Ya's Kakuni Paitan Ramen

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been binging on Japanese Ramen, continuing my search for that “perfect bowl”. Which brings me here today to Yotteko-Ya, an eatery in McCully Shopping Center that specializes in the style from Kyoto, a prefecture in Japan that also includes Osaka and Kobe.

Reading over the 100-plus reviews on Yelp (a good sign!) of the joint, it’s no surprise the unanimous favorite is their signature dish, the Paitan Ramen. Specifically, more demanding “rameniacs” insist on getting the Kakuni Paitan Ramen, which according to their menu is “topped with a block of our homemade chashu”.

The Kakuni option is available in limited supply, with only 20 orders available on any given lunch or dinner schedule.  For that, you pay an additional $3 premium over the standard Paitan Ramen, or $4 more when ordering any combo set.

So I went with the Yelp masses plus “rameniacs” and ordered the Kakuni Paitan Ramen set, which we’ll get to shortly.

Before we get to the grindz, as always in “Tasty Island fashion”, let’s take a look around the joint….

Here’s the menu…

There on the back of the menu you see the various combo sets to choose from, which is definitely the way to go for the best value.

What I appreciate here, is it’s kinda’ like Burger King, where you can have just about everything “your way”. First of all you can choose how you want your noodles done: either “Japanese Style (more traditional and firmer), or “Local Style” (softer). Then you choose what style of broth you want: either Yataiaji (Kyoto style Shoyu), Tonshio (Hawaiian Salt) or Paitan (the House favorite). For the Gyoza, you can choose either pan-fried or deep-fried. Finally, for the rice (gohan), you can choose either either the mini Yakibuta Chahan or Chashu Gohan.

With that, I ordered “Set C”, which includes ramen, gyoza and fried rice for $12.45 , “turbo charging” the meal by choosing the Kakuni (braised pork) Paitan option, which adds another $4 to the bottom line, bringing my total bill, including a soda to $18.45 including tax, but not tip. That’s a significant chunk of change for a ramen lunch, yet I’m willing to go for it if it proves its worth.

For the gyoza I chose the deep-fried version, as that’s something different than the usual pan-fried potstickers. Finally, for the gohan, I chose the mini Yakibuta Chahan.

Without further ado, presenting Yotteko-Ya’s “famous” Kakuni Paitan Ramen…

Yotteko-Ya – Kakuni Paitan Ramen

Ooooh…. ahhhhhhhh….ooohhhhh…aaahhhhhhh. Lookin’ good.

The mini Yakibuta Chahan (fried rice)…

Yotteko-Ya – mini Yakibuta Chahan (fried rice)

Rounding out the meal, the deep-fried Gyoza…

Yotteko-Ya – Deep-fried Gyoza

That, and an ice cold glass of Coca Cola and I’m set.

OK, let’s take a closer look at this “famous” Paitan Ramen…

Before I continue this careful analysis, let me stop for a moment to note that I’m VERY PICKY when it comes to authentic Japanese Ramen, as my idea of the “perfect bowl” is none other than that AMAZING “Pork Noodle” me and my parents enjoyed year after year at this little ramen-ya in the Ginza district of Tokyo. So far the only place that’s come close (and that’s stretching it) is the now defunct Daruma, which was located in the Sam Sung Plaza on Koreamoku street. This AMAZING “Pork Noodle” was done in the Tokyo shoyu style, and that’s why i usually “gauge” a ramen shop here by their shoyu broth. Yet I was willing to think outside the box for this moment and give their highly-touted Paitan Ramen a shot.

With that, notice how “milky” the broth appears, where sure enough, it tastes “milky”, while also having a subtle sweet accent to it, which could possibly be from the mirin I’m guessing they use to braise the Kakuni. According to their menu, it says: “Our homemade soup is simmered for over 10 hours with the choicest pork, the freshest chickens and 10 different vegetables and spices. This meticulous process produces a uniquely thick collagen rich stock that will actually help prevent aging of skin and joints. So please enjoy our soup the last drop and look younger!”.

Yet in actuality it wasn’t as thick as I thought it would be, having no more viscosity than shoyu ramen.

As expected in my picky one-track mind, the Paitan broth didn’t fit my personal taste. You would only have had to try that Ginza Ramen I so often make reference to in order to understand how so far nothing I’ve tried here on Oahu has lived up to it, save for Daruma. I understand Paitan is a different style with its creamier, more robust flavor profile, and it’s very respectful in that regard. It’s just not my style.

As for the Kakuni, you certainly get your $4 money’s worth, as there seemed to be practically more pork than there were ramen noodles!

I swear, at least half the net weight of the ramen in this bowl consisted of the Kakuni Chashu pork. So much that I ended up taking some out to make access to the ramen noodles a little easier.

Now witness how fall-apart tender the Kakuni is…

Notice how the bottom layer of pork meat is falling off the top layer, barely hanging on by the melted fat between it. In fact, it fell off moments after I got that shot.

I gotta’ say though, the Kakuni is crazy tasty, with a deep-braised, succulent flavor that’s mildly sweet, with a soy and what I think is dashi flavor base. I would say if there’s one thing to go out your way to come here for, it would be the Kakuni. Just make sure you come early, as by the time I was eating around 1pm, they were already telling other patrons that the Kakuni had sold out. Why they make a limited amount, I don’t know. Perhaps to create a sense of urgency to their customers, kinda’ like a “7am-10am Only!” Black Friday sale campaign.

Yet I can’t compare it to their regular Chashu, as I haven’t tried it yet, so I’m not sure yet if getting the Kakuni is necessary for a “better” ramen experience here. If you’re a serious carnivore, then absolutely. Me? Nah, as I prefer balance in my meal. Not ALL meat. As I said earlier, there was actually too much Kakuni, where, since Yotteko-Ya is all about options, they should make two Kakuni choices: regular for $2 more and super or “double” for $4 more, which would be this one, as there was easily twice as much Kakuni than necessary in my opinion.

As for the noodles, they were cooked perfectly al dente to the  “Japanese style” as promised. I forgot to ask (my bad), but by every guesstimate, like most ramen shops in Honolulu, I’d say they source their ramen noodles from Sun Noodle, which I’m 100% A-OK with, as Sun Noodle rules!

Joining in this Jacuzzi of ramen love were bean sprouts (moyashi) and  green onions (negi)…

And that dark brown stuff is called Kikurage, a type of Chinese mushroom…

I was OK with the Kikurage (it’s very healthy!), yet I was a little disappointed they didn’t also include Menma (marinated Japanese bamboo shoots), my favorite Ramen topping of the veggie genre.

While, as expected the Paitan can’t compete with my prefered Ginza style, overall, this was a great delicious bowl of Ramen, thanks in great part to that amazing Kakuni braised pork and perfectly cooked ramen noodles.

Good enough for me to “polish” the bowl…

All said and done, I give Totteko-Ya’s Kakuni Paitan Ramen a very satisfying 3 SPAM Musubi, with the Kakuni itself an incredibly succent, tender and tasty 5!

Moving on, let’s try the Yakibuta Chahan…

I thought and was hoping that yellow thing in there would be takuwan, but it turned out being yellow bell pepper. Basically this tasted like Chashu fried rice. Simple as that. A chashu (simmered pork) fried rice, along with shoyu to help it along. Good. Very good. 3 SPAM Musubi.  Really though, I don’t see the logic in serving rice with ramen and having two types of starches, but whatever. I’ll still eat it.

Now let’s try the deep-fried Gyoza…

Being that it’s deep-fried, I was expecting it to taste more like Korean Mandoo, but interestingly, it tasted like what it is: a deep-fried Gyoza. No more, no less. Actually, much more tasty, as you’d expect by it being deep-fried. Oishii! What’s great is instead of plain ‘ole ground pork, they put little chunks of chashu (or it could be Kakuni) in it, which really kicks it up a few notches. Bam! lol  For the dipping sauce, I made a random concoction of shoyu, vinegar, chili oil and shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-flavor red chili pepper flakes), which turned out like a kicked-up Ponzu. It was awesome! Summing up Yotteko-Ya’s deep-fried Gyoza (and my ponzu-on-a-fly concoction), this easily deserves 4 SPAM Musubi.

The ramen itself was so filling, I only had room to eat one Gyoza, and barely touched the Yakibuta Chahan, where on this plate, you see how much “extra” Kakuni I took out of the ramen and set aside…

That all got wrapped up to take home, which made for tasty afternoon snack…

As for the service, no complaints. Very friendly and attentive, while my entire spread of Kakuni Ramen, mini Yakibuta Chahan and deep-fried Gyoza arrived within 10 minutes of being ordered. Sweet.

Now I need to go back and try Yotteko-Ya’s Yataiaji (shoyu) Ramen!

Yotteko-Ya Kyoto Ramen
McCully Shopping Center
1960 Kapiolani Blvd. #214 (second floor on the Ewa west end of the building)
Honolulu, Hawaii  96826

Tel. (808) 946-2900

Business hours:
Lunch: Monday-Sunday (daily) 11:30am to 2:00pm
Dinner: Monday-Saturday 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Sunday/Holidays 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Last order: 15 minutes before closing
Closed on Wednesdays

The Tasty Island rating:

(3) Very Good. Considerable of another visit or purchase. (Supah’ Ono!)

Related links:
Yotteko-Ya – ‘Ono Kine Grindz
Yotteko-Ya – Champuru.net
Yotteko-Ya – A Passion for Food
Yotteko-Ya – Yelp user reviews

Kaka'ako Eats: California Beach Rock 'N Sushi

Yesterday we celebrated Diner AC’s birthday at California Rock ‘N Sushi on Ward avenue, located nextdoor to Kanpai, formerly known as Tio’s, formerly known as Dixie Grill.

I’ll admit, all the time this place has been here, this is a first for me.

As for the name ‘California Beach Rock ‘N Sushi’, I can’t explain how that came about, as I didn’t get a chance to speak with the owner, nor have I found any resource online that has the information, including their own website. This place only has one location here in Honolulu, so it can’t be their original location’s name. Which has me wondering why they didn’t name it ‘Ala Moana Beach Rock ‘N Sushi’, which sounds pretty cool, actually.

For now I’ll take it that it stands for the type of sushi they offer, which for the most part is in the contemporary, non-traditional style made popular in California. I tell ya’, just like the pizza, them Californians just can’t leave well enough alone when it comes to food, as they’ve now done with sushi. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s Ramen Shops in the Golden State doing “California Ramen”. Gasp! But don’t worry Cali’ peeps, we still love ya’.

While birthday girl Diner AC is fond of all their sushi, her heart and tummy yearns for the ‘Tamanaha Tartare Roll’ as seen above, which I’ll go more into detail shortly.

First let’s check out the joint…

A sushi bar just wouldn’t be complete without Gyotaku artwork adorning the walls. This was one HUGE Ulua…


Beautiful work.

Getting to the grindz, while there’s a more extensive dinner menu you can choose from, we were here for lunch, where they have a special menu for that. Here it is…

CBR’nS also has desserts, including a Tempura-fried Ice Cream and a service bar serving select well drinks, beer, wine and sake.

So we started our meal off with two signature rolls as apps, choosing the Crunchy Roll…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Crunchy Roll: Shrimp Tempura, Cucumber, Yamagobo, Kaiware & Spicy Mayo’ coated with crunchy Tempura Flakes and Smelt Roe. $12

And off the dinner menu, Diner AC’s fave’, the Tamanaha Tartare Roll…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Tamanaha Tartare Roll: Crunchy Crab Roll topped with our famous Spicy Tuna Tartare Mix. $18

For entrees, we start with birthday girl Diner AC, who chose the Tempura Combo with Miso Butterfish…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Tempura Combo with Miso Butterfish, 2 Shrimp Tempura, 3 Vegetable Tempura & Miso Butterfish (also includes salad, miso soup and rice). $12 (lunch special price)

Diner C (my now infamous Balut eating partner) chose the same dish…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Tempura Combo with Miso Butterfish, 2 Shrimp Tempura, 3 Vegetable Tempura & Miso Butterfish (also includes salad, miso soup and rice). $12 (lunch special price)

Diner E also got the Tempura Combo, asking instead for Teriyaki Chicken to join the party…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Tempura Combo with Teriyaki Chicken, 2 Shrimp Tempura, 3 Vegetable Tempura & Miso Butterfish (also includes salad, miso soup and rice). $12 (lunch special price)

Diner A went for the Super Lunch Combo…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Super Lunch Combo: Teriyaki Chicken, California Roll, Croquette, Shumai and Chicken Wing. Also includes Miso Soup, Salad and Rice. $10

Last but least, yours truly chose the Supreme Salmon Super Combo…

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Supreme Salmon Super Combo with California Roll, Croquette, Shumai and Chicken Wing. Also includes Miso Soup, Salad and Rice. $11

Here’s the included Miso Soup

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Miso Soup

As always, the million dollar question, “How was it?” Fantastic! For those prices, are you kidding me? What a bargain! The only kinda’ pricey item was the Tamanaha Tartare Roll; yet that’s totally justified, considering there had to easily have been at least a half-pound or more of Spicy Ahi Tuna Tartare piled on the top of that thing. Check it out…

Personally I’m not a Spicy Tuna fan, but Diner AC LOVES the stuff, and she was savoring every bite, where all I could hear being murmured by her while she ate was “mmmmmm” and “nom nom nom nom nom”. lol

Here in this bite-through cross-section view, you can see just how deep the pile of Spicy Ahi is on this bad boy…

The crunchy crab in the center added an interesting flavor and texture contrast to the smooth ‘n silky fresh Ahi. Although Spicy Ahi ain’t my thang, I can certainly say California Rock ‘N Sushi’s take on the dish is a standout that would probably rank high amongst fans, which it certainly does for Diner AC.

One more shot, so when Diner AC reads (and looks) at this, she can vicariously relive the moment…

Om nom nom nom nom nom. lol

As for the Crunchy Roll, I was diggin’ on that one. The tempura flakes it was crusted added a wonderful lightly toasted flavor and and a breaded texture profile to the sushi, making it a very unique experience, while the Shrimp tempura in the center just exploded with flavor. I could order a roll of this and call it a day, really. Same for Diner AC, who could easily just order a Tamanaha Roll as her appetizer and entree as the meal and call it a day.

Getting to the main course, my ‘Supreme Salmon’ was OFF THE CHARTS oishii-ono-awesome-licious!

That garlic butter soy sauce was KIL-LER! Killer, killer good, I tell ya’. They should bottle the stuff and sell it. I’d buy it! And the salmon was cooked to perfection, being super moist, flakey, while the skin was nice and crispy with just a light hint of salt for added flavor. Easy 5 SPAM Musubi for CR’nR’s Supreme Salmon. If you a salmon fan, ORDER THIS DISH. It’ll change your life. It changed mine. lol

Diner A wasn’t so much a fan of their Teriyaki Chicken, noting that they didn’t marinade the chicken in the teri’ sauce, but cooked it first, then added the teriyaki after the fact…

Surprisingly “Mr. Teriyaki Man” himself, Diner E had no problem with it and gave it a 3. I think I would have enjoyed it too, as, other than Kalbi, for the most part I don’t like my meats saturated in marinade. Yet to each their own, so whatevahz.

As for da’ odda’ stuffs (the other stuff), the california roll that came with my meal was equally delicious, with great quality rice being use that was cooked to sushi rice perfection, while the cucumber and imitation crab was in perfect balance of quantity, while being very fresh-tasting. Solid 4 for that.

Not stopping there, my $11 bargain of a meal also included a chicken wing and shumai that were both deep-fried to golden brown delicious perfection, with the chicken wing being super moist and seasoned just right. The two small shumai were stuffed with chopped shrimp and some other “stuff” and was absolutely delicious as well.  The miso soup had all the right flavors in place and kept simple as it should with just green onions and tofu in it.  The salad was great as well, being more like a slaw, with an interesting dressing that was sort of citrus-ee. Rice on the side was cooked perfect, although I barely touched it, as the Cali’ Rolls were already enough starch for me.

Again, that Supreme Salmon with Garlic Butter Soy Sauce rocked my world. Oh, it rocked my world. The sushi rolls were amazing. Everything was just about perfect, including the service.

California Rock ‘N Sushi – Miso Butterfish

Rounding up the scores, Diner “Birthday Girl” AC and Diner “Balut is my middle name” C both give their Tempura Combo with Miso Butterfish plate 4 SPAM Musubi, while Diner AC gives the Tamanaha Tartare Roll an incredibly amazingly ono-awesome-licious 5 SPAM Musubi. Diner “Bathes in Teri’ Sauce” A gives his Super Lunch Combo plate 2 SPAM Musubi, while Diner “Saimin Kaukau” E gives his Tempura Combo with Teriyaki Chicken plate 3 SPAM Musubi. Finally yours truly is going to have to go 5 SPAM Musubi on the Supreme Salmon Combo plate. That salmon hit the ball out of the park, and smashed through the windshield of a brand new Bugatti Veyron sitting in the parking lot when it landed. lol

The great food, value and service all contribute to giving California Rock ‘N Sushi a rock ‘n rollin’ thumbs-up of approval. Highly recommended!

California Rock ‘N Sushi
Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar
404 Ward Avenue (across Sports Authority & Ross)
Honolulu, Hawaii  96814

Tel. (808) 597-8000

Business hours:
Monday thru Friday
Lunch 11am to 2pm, Dinner 5pm to 10pm
Friday and Saturday
5pm to 11pm
5pm to 9pm

Takeout Menu pdf download

The Tasty Island rating:

(4) Excellent. Worth another visit or purchase. (Winnahz!)

Related links:
Rock ‘n Sushi Rolls up unique fare – Honolulu Star Bulletin
California Rock ‘N Sushi – Yelp user reviews

P.S. For dessert, we picked up these Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Cupcakes from Cold Stone Creamery at the Ward Entertainment Center complex…

How was it? Very good. Normally I’m not one for cookies in my ice cream (too rich), but I do love me a good Oreo, and the Oreo cookie bits mixed in the vanilla ice cream was kinda’ nice. So was the hard chocolate “cup” it’s served in, which gave it an Eskimo Pie-like characteristic. I’ll give this 3 SPAM Musubi.

Finally, on my way home from work yesterday I stopped by “Kaisers” (Ala Wai Boat harbor beachfront) and snapped this shot of Waikiki beach…